Access to Information
The public’s right to obtain information held by local authorities is provided by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985.
This Act allows, with certain exceptions, for the public to attend most Council meetings and inspect documents prepared or provided in connection with the business discussed at those meetings. It also permits a person entitled to inspect a document to make copies of, or extracts from it, or request a photocopy (paying a reasonable fee).
Under this Act the Vale of Glamorgan Council specifies when information held on planning files becomes available. In the case of planning applications to be determined under Delegated Powers, the full contents of the file are available prior to determination subject to an appointment being made with the Information Officer. Please note that as a working document not all correspondence on which the decision will be based may be on file at the time of viewing.
The rules in respect of the planning register are set out in Section 69 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which requires that a two part register of planning applications is retained for public inspection:
Part 1 : Refers to the application forms, plans and any other supporting information prior to determination or disposal of the application. These can be viewed by coming into reception at the Dock Office, Barry and requesting to see the Part 1 file. There is no fee for this service. Copies can be obtained at normal copying charges.
Part 2 : Refers to the plans and decision notice following determination. Preferably an appointment is made, but providing the Department is not too busy, the details can be obtained sooner. There is no fee for this service, even if the plans and decision notice are more than five years old. Copies can be obtained at normal copying charges.
Closed / Determined Files : In order to view files relating to determined applications, an appointment needs to be made. There may be a fee to view most files in their entirety. (see below)
The following information is available:
- Decision Notices
- Consultation and neighbour notification responses
- Officer Reports
In most cases the Access to Information Act 1985 (or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004) has precedence over the Freedom of Information Act.
Current, ongoing appeals are treated in the same way as current planning applications and can be viewed at any time in the Council’s reception area at the Dock Office, Barry. However, it is advisable to make an appointment with the relevant officer prior to attendance at the Council’s Offices.
In respect of determined appeals, the situation is as above concerning determined planning applications.
In most cases, the content of enforcement files is not available for public viewing given that in most cases the file results from a complaint and in many cases the complainant will request that their details are not disclosed.
However where a formal Notice is served, this information is held on a formal register and the Notice itself and any immediately supporting information such as plans and / or supporting letters are available for inspection.
Once again, it is advisable to make an appointment in advance to view this information.
Information on the Discharge of Conditions Attached to Planning Permissions
To obtain information on whether or not conditions have been discharged or complied with, an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness is usually requested under Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).
Under the regulations of the Access to Information Act 1985, information shall be made available as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days after the date of receipt of the request.
Under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, local authorities are entitled to charge a reasonable fee for the provision of information. A Schedule of Fees is available for information regarding photocopying charges, including planning searches.
For information regarding Building Regulations applications please contact: